All courts including HC closed for 21 days in JK, Ladakh

Jammu and Kashmir High Court and all subordinate courts in J&K and Ladakh shall remain closed for 21 days in view of nationwide lockdown called in the wake of coronavirus spread.

As a preventive measure, Chief Justice Geeta Mital in an order has directed that “access to all the courts complexes of Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh including High Court complexes at Srinagar and Jammu will remain closed during the period of lockdown.”

To deal with “exceptionally urgent matters” pertaining to High Court, the order says that the Registrar Judicial concerned after seeking necessary orders from the Chief Justice, will make necessary arrangements for their hearing from the residences of the Judges. “These arrangements will be made in accordance with the directions of the Chief Justice and these hearings will be on the virtual mode only,” it said.

However, the judicial officers, officers and staff of Registry and the staff of district courts will remain available at all the times at their respective residences to meet any emergent nature.

The Principal District and Sessions Judges have been directed to make arrangements for hearings of “any exceptionally urgent civil or criminal matter” from the residences of Judicial Officers, who will be designated by the concerned District and Sessions Judge for the purpose. “The hearings will be on the virtual mode only,” reads the order.

The officers and staff members in all the courts of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh were strictly directed to adhere to the guidelines regarding social distancing, restrictions, quarantine, and isolation like steps to avoid spread of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, two High Court officials have been assigned task to assist the court staff members in distress. The officials are Arvind Sharma, Registrar (Protocol), High Court of J&K, Jammu (9419254526, email id – arvind.jk0123@gmail.com), and Mehraj-ud-Din Sofi, Registrar (Protocol), High Court of J&K, Srinagar (9419970965, email id – sofimeraj@gmail.com).

For the District Court staff, a Judicial Officer will be assigned the task by the concerned Principal District and Sessions Judge, whose name and contact details be posted on the Court website.